Karen O'Connor, a young journalist known for her celebrity profiles, is consumed with discovering the truth behind a long-buried incident that affected the lives and careers of showbiz team Vince Collins and Lanny Morris.
Karen O'Connor tells the story about two distinct but related periods in her life. In 1972, she is an up-and-coming Los Angeles based journalist who has been given the lucrative assignment of convincing once successful comic Vince Collins, who is at the tail end of his career, to allow her to ghost write his memoirs. Most specifically, she has the task from her publishers of discovering the reason behind two issues in Vince's life from 1957: why he and his former on-stage partner Lanny Morris, who is still active and well known within the entertainment business, broke up their professional partnership shortly after they hosted a successful thirty-nine hour telethon for polio research in Miami, there not having been any indication of problems between the two before that; and how did the dead body of Maureen O'Flaherty end up in the water filled bathtub in Vince and Lanny's New Jersey hotel suite, the opening of that New Jersey hotel owned by mobster Sally Sanmarco which was Lanny and ... Written by
As Lanney signs the bill in the hotel room when Maureen brings him his food, there is a ZIP code visible in the hotel's address. This part of the film is set in 1957, but ZIP codes were not used by the US postal service until 1963. See more »
HELP! Hollywood's in desperate need of good writers!
One of the most pleasant surprises in movie watching is to see a film you've heard nothing about and discover what a marvelous gem it is. I had that experience with "The Sweet Hereafter", an exceptionally well made movie that was wonderful in many aspects: spot-on acting, artistically beautiful cinematography, flawless directing, and a practically perfect screenplay adapted from an outstanding, important book written by a top shelf author. I liked "The Sweet Hereafter" so much that I've put on my eventually-must-watch-list any other work from the actors that were in it as well as the director, Atom Egoyan. Sadly, so far, no other work by any of them is even in the same ballpark. That's usually quite common when you discover a cinematic masterpiece, very few directors, actors, et al, are ever involved in a great film and if they are it's often just the one and they spend the rest of their careers trying to find another one to match but to no avail. I thought "Ararat" was good but no where near up to par with "The Sweet Hereafter". Okay, so the material's not quite the same quality, let's see what else Mr. Egoyan has done, surely a man who can direct a great, powerful film will eventually put out something that I will find a great cinematic experience. Coppola followed "The Godfather" with the best "sequel" of all time "The Godfather 2" and the mind blowing "Apocalypse Now". Atom Egoyan's got to make something else that's exceptional, right?
Which leads to one of the more unpleasant experiences in movie watching, after discovering a great film, you're never able to find anything remotely of the same merit from the directors, actors, etc. involved. Sometimes it's even a terribly foul piece presented for your cinematic palate, such as "Where the Truth Lies". Do you ever watch a movie and it starts to deteriorate until you end up angry for having wasted your time? Or worse, walked in with high expectations only to be slapped in the face with idiotic drivel? This is one of those films. No matter how great a chef is he can't make great cuisine from dog sh+t. It won't even be edible.
Who wrote this contrived, unrealistic crap? It didn't start off bad, there was even an element that was interesting, where the telethon was just a phony scam for the mob to cash in. But it was right about then that the movie rapidly descended into a very stupidly unrealistic place. What is necessary for really good writing is for the writer to do material he/she knows. What is usually an element of really bad writing is when it so obviously is a thinly contrived piece that is about a subject matter the author knows nothing about but naively thinks they can make it up as they go along and it won't be obviously obtuse. And it doesn't even have to the situation or subject matter itself that the writer needs to be an expert on but rather on character, how people act in a specific situation. When your credibility allowance gets strained as you see a character behave in a way you know is childishly unrealistic it's bad enough but when the other supposedly savvy, worldly characters are attracted to her infantile behavior you know you're watching a real turd transforming.
And this female lead, Alison Lohman, is just plain awful. If this is the extent of her acting ability she'd be wise to save every cent of every paycheck because she'll need it all when her fleeting youth and beauty fade. I know Hollywood and its satellites prefer to use pretty young girls as much as possible, even in place of women; but why does it insist on putting them in places where they would have no business in the real world? At least not behaving the way they do in awful films like this one, preening narcissists who haven't the vaguest clue about anything other than their self centered demands. Sure the world likes to look at pretty young women/girls but usually only sexually insecure boys of various ages will consistently tolerate their infantile emotional demands. That is up until they can finally get a taste of their guarded fruits and most will then realize it's hardly worth the price to continue to be the emotional whipping boy of a nasty narcissist.
There are enough really bad and mediocre films (the vast majority actually) out there that I usually try and forget them as quickly as possible, without wasting any time with a comment. The only reason I chose to mention this soon to be forgotten piece is that Mr. Egoyan is capable of vastly much, much better work. I know it's in him, I've seen the results when he excels. He just needs to be patient and use some decently written material. Maybe Russel Banks could offer up one of his fine novels that has yet to be tapped for film. They did a great, nay fantastic adaptation before together. If not, anyone know any way to sneak a decent piece of writing into Hollywood? I hear they have The Bad Writing Patrolmen who usually only allow the worst crap to get through. If you wonder about this just chose just about any film at random to prove my point.
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